Wrapping Up Your Christmas Shopping in Downtown WaKeeney

Get out that wrapping paper because it’s time to get your Christmas shopping list completed, and the best place to do that is in WaKeeney, the “Christmas City of the High Plains!”

Christmas Shopping in WaKeeney

Spend the day finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list! Whether you have a Practical Patty or a Dashing Dan, our Downtown WaKeeney shops offer gifts that are sure to please everyone on your list. Check out our roster of businesses that have opened their doors to Christmas shoppers this season.

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Festive Seasonal Décor

Get in the holiday spirit with Christmas décor for your home. Rose Petal Cottage has your floral needs covered. Fresh flowers and greenery or custom-made centerpieces will have your home dressed and ready for your holiday celebration.

 

Images by: Gibson’s Healthmart and The Studio 128

Step into Gibson’s Healthmart for silk floral arrangements and pick up a few gifts, too! Gibson’s offers a large variety of products, from scented candles and jewelry, to premade wreaths and flower arrangements.

Cross the street to The Studio 128 for handmade holiday keepsake items. The Studio carries unique art pieces, as well as gift certificates for their art studio for the creative people in your life.

 

                                              Images by: Heartland Foods and Shiloh Vineyard

Setting the Perfect Holiday Table

Get help with your holiday meal from Heartland Foods. With their fine selection of meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and everything in between, your table will be filled with delicious dishes that will be remembered all year long.

Don’t forget to include a few bottles of wine from Shiloh Vineyard. As Trego County’s only winery, it’s the best accompaniment to go along with a Christmas celebration you’ve begun in “The Christmas City of the High Plains.”

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Dressing Yourself Up for the Holidays

Do it up right at your next holiday gathering with the latest look from our fashion-forward retailers. Shear Designs, Gibson’s Healthmart, and Vintage Soul have clothing and jewelry that will let you sparkle and shine at all your holiday gatherings.

 

                              Images by: Gibsons Healthmart, Shear Designs, and P & G Designs

For a personalized gift, P & G Designs can personalize shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and most other fabric with an emblem of your favorite team or other image.  

 

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Get party ready with a special look from New Creations Hair Salon and Lavonne’s Beauty Shop. Their stylists can help you look your best as you head out the door to your next big event.

 

Images by: Whats Not in Pine and the Main Street Giftery and Floral

When you are ready to help Santa with those gifts under the tree step into What Nots in Pine and Main Street Giftery and Floral for a gift that will bring a smile to everyone on your list. What Nots in Pine has beautiful hand-crafted items and Main Street Giftery carries a wide variety of fun gifts that will make your holiday light up. And, don’t forget those last minute stocking stuffers you’ll find at the WaKeeney Dollar General Store!

 

Images by: Clelands Pharmacy and Pit Road Liquor

The Perfect Hostess Gift

You won’t want to show up empty-handed to your next holiday party. Stop by Cleland Pharmacyto find everything you need to craft a gift package, or head to Pit Road Liquoror Earl Liquor Storefor a pre-packaged gift that will get the party started!

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Gifts for the Entire Family

Don’t leave it up to Santa to deliver the best gifts! Take a look at the great gift ideas, large and small, from Day Motor Sports, Dreher Automotive, and Wheatbelt Distributors.

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Day Motor Sports and Dreher Automotive are both stocked with great gifts for your adrenaline junkie, and Wheatbelt Distributors and Keyser Hardware are great places to find gifts for those handy-type people in your life.

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Get the latest technology for your home at Nex-Tech. They have the newest phones and everything to go with them, plus security and life watch packages on the market.

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Deck your home with the newest pieces found on the showroom floor at Newcomer Furniture. From living rooms, to bedrooms; every room in the house will be refreshed with a brand-new piece from Newcomer’s.

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Treat Yourself!

Once you’ve got everyone on your shopping list checked off, relax at one of WaKeeney’s many delicious restaurants. The Western Kansas Saloon & GrillBrazen BullMike’s Place and Jake & Chet’s Café serve a full menu of plated meals that include burgers, steaks, salads and sandwiches. And, don’t forget to make a stop at   at Hometown Bakery for a delicious Christmas treat or the soda fountain at Gibsons Healthmart where you can order both hot and cold drinks, both on WaKeeney’s Main Street.

Go south-of-the-border at Tropical Mexican Restaurant or enjoy an Italian fest at our local Pizza Hut. For a quick meal stop in at Dairy Queen, McDonalds or Subway to satisfy your hunger pains as you head home from your day of shopping.

 

This year, make Downtown WaKeeney your Christmas Shopping headquarters and celebrate this wonderful season with us in “The Christmas City of the High Plains!”

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Wreaths Across America to Honor Military Men & Women at the Kansas Veterans Cemetery in WaKeeney

Wreaths Across America is returning to the Kansas Veterans Cemetery in WaKeeney on Saturday, December 15thfor its thirteenth annual wreath laying ceremony.

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This special event is modeled after the iconic wreath laying ceremony held each year at Arlington National Cemetery in a mission to “Remember, Honor and Teach”the patriotic values our service members demonstrate worldwide through their service and their sacrifice. Today, Wreaths Across America ceremonies occur in over 1,200 locations in all 50 U.S. states and at military cemeteries across the world.

Along with the wreaths placed on gravesites, seven specially made wreaths donated by the same supplier of the Arlington cemetery’s wreaths, will be laid out in recognition of each branch of the military. Morrill Worcester, President of Worcester Wreath Company, explains his desire to develop the Wreaths Across America project, “Our goal is to expand the recognition of those who serve our country, both past, present, and future, as well as their families who deserve our support. Without the sacrifices of our veterans, there would be no opportunity to enjoy the freedoms, the life we live today.”

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The ceremony held at the WaKeeney Veterans Cemetery is a moving experience based in the traditions of the United States military. Errol Wuertz of the Civil Air Corp. and Rev. Stanton will present a short service, followed by a 21-gun salute performed by the American Legion of Colby, Kansas. A moment of reflection will fall as people in attendance lay wreaths upon the graves of our servicemen and women who fought to preserve the American values of freedom, justice, and equality for all.

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The American Legion Riders and Knights of Columbus will lay wreaths for those service members whose families are unable to attend the event, so no veteran goes unrecognized.

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Please join us at the Kansas Veterans Cemetery in WaKeeney at 11am on Saturday, December 15th for the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony to remember all the brave men and women and their families who have served in our military.

If you would like to participate in laying wreaths during the ceremony, or if you would like to contribute to the purchase of the 2019 wreaths please contact Cemetery Manager Heidi Goff at (785) 743-5685.

Celebrate the 2018 Holiday Season in the “Christmas City of the High Plains”

It’s Christmastime in WaKeeney, Kansas and this year we are filled with more holiday spirit than ever before!

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This year, the “Christmas City of the High Plains” will host their 68thAnnual Christmas Festival on Saturday, November 24th where we will turn on our new LED color-changing perimeter lights for the very first viewing before they become a permanent part of our Main Street. There are many great events planned for this celebration, including holiday shopping, carol singing, and celebrating this joyful season.

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Shopping at the Annual Christmas Bazaar

Get a jump start on your holiday decorating and shopping at WaKeeney’s Annual Christmas Bazaar. Vendors will open their doors from 10am–4pm to give you the opportunity to find the perfect gift for your favorite people (including you!). The Bazaar is held at the Trego County Fairgrounds and you’ll find household and beauty items, along with a large selection of handmade Christmas decorations, and much, much more!

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Explore the History and Beauty of Nativity Scenes

Enjoy the true spirit of the holiday at the Trego County Historical Society Museum. Their special exhibit, a “Festival of Nativities,” will feature nativity scenes in many styles, types, and forms that span decades. Don’t forget to explore the museum’s new addition where you’ll find many more interesting historical items dating back to the founding of our town. (Open from 10am-Noon; and 1-4pm.)

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Free Family Fun and InMotion’s Virtual Reality Ride

Head to Downtown WaKeeney at 4pm for holiday fun and festivities. Local business owners are hosting a ticket booth in our newest retail store, What Knot’s in Pine at 126 N. Main. They will be providing FREE tickets to reserve a spot in line to see Santa Claus or ride on InMotion’s popular “Santa’s Sleigh Ride” virtual reality experience. Experience the thrill and excitement Santa enjoys on his midnight ride. It will be operating from 5-9pm.

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Join Us at the Community Soup Supper

Warm your body with a big bowl of homemade soup from the chefs of the VFW Auxiliary. This community Soup Supper will be held at the VFW Hall at 4:30pm and will serve dessert along with the soup. It’s the perfect way to get you ready for all the great evening events to come. You might get lucky, too, at a raffle they will be holding during the meal.

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Gypsy Kansas

Enjoy the Live Music

Stop by The Studio 128 from 4:30-5:45pm and after our Christmas tree lighting ceremony from 6:30-8pm for a live performance from two Kansas bands. Get your fix of Christmas carols, tap your toe, and join in on the chorus as the bands go through their catalog of seasonal favorites.

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Games, Crafts, Treats and Drinks!

The elves have nothing on the enterprising folks at Santa’s Downtown Workshop. WaKeeney’s area businesses will be hosting crafts, games, snacks and drinks for all the kids in their stores while they wait to visit Santa 5–8pm. Look for the our posters at participating businesses.

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Christmas Carols with a Barbershop Quartet

Christmas carols are getting the Barbershop Quartet treatment courtesy of the Trego Arts Council. The performance begins after the tree lighting ceremony at the VFW Hall with traditional holiday songs perfectly harmonized, up and down the scale.

Downtown Christmas Tree & Decorations

68ThAnnual “Christmas City of the High Plains Christmas Festival

Join us at the crossroads of Main Street and Russell Avenue at 6pm under the light of our 35-foot Christmas tree for the 68ThAnnual “Christmas City of the High Plains’” tree lighting ceremony!

Expect an extra grand display this year, as we’ve fortified our holiday decorations with brand new LED color-changing perimeter lights from Inception Lighting adorning buildings throughout the four-blocks of Downtown WaKeeney. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, a Dane G. Hansen grant, and the citizens who contributed to the “Get Lit” campaign, the lights will continue to shine bright throughout the year, with a rainbow of colors for every season.

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A Visit from Santa Claus

Get ready to welcome the man of the hour, Santa Claus, as he lights our famous Christmas tree. Afterwards, we’ll escort him to his special holiday seat in our very own North Pole Park, where he’ll checking his list and listening to every child’s wishes before sending them on their way with a special holiday treat.

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Jump on the Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Listen closely after the tree lighting ceremony to hear the clop, clop, clop of jolly holiday revelers as they cruise our Main Street in a decorated horse drawn carriage from Big Creek Horse & Carriage. Sponsored by Solutions North Bank, this is a much-anticipated FREE activity every year.

 

Enjoy the magic of the season under the glow of holiday lights in the “Christmas City of the High Plains” on Saturday, November 24. Our display remains lit through New Years and is free to the public. For more information, please contact organizers at (877)962-7248 or (785)743-8325, or check out our website and look for updates on our Facebook page.

Come to WaKeeney to make wonderful holiday memories with us in “the Christmas City of the High Plains!”

Hunting Season Returns to Trego County

All across Trego County our fields are filled with the calls of upland birds alerting hunters to the 2018-2019 hunting season.

The Smoky Hill region has 75,576 acres of public land and 362,936 acres of Walk-in Hunting Access(WIHA) grounds open to hunters this fall. We’ve compiled the latest assessment of the pheasant, deer, turkey and quail populations in our region to give you insight into what to expect when you go hunting this fall in Trego County.

 

Upland Birds

Good opportunities await ring-neck pheasant hunters despite a slight decrease in pheasant crows last spring and summer. Regardless of that fact, the Smoky Hills had the highest roadside density in the state, with last year’s Smoky Hills harvest estimates the highest in the region, according to KS Outdoors.

Rios Turkey

Declining Rios turkey populations across much of the state are stabilizing, presenting hunting opportunities that are better than they have been for a long time. Overall populations are relatively strong and you should expect to find fair to good numbers of Rios in our area.

Bobwhite Quail

Hunting prospects for bobwhite quail should be fair to good throughout the region this year, following on the heels of very high densities over the past three years. The Smoky Hill region retained the highest roadside index for quail in 2018, better than the average when compared to other regions across the northcentral part of the state.

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Image by: YathinS Krishnappa

Whitetail and Mule Deer

The general populations of whitetail and mule deer remain fairly average and trends continue to be stable, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, with an estimated 627,000 whitetails and 46,000 mule deer in residence. This indicates hunters have a chance at older bucks, according to Outdoor Life.

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Book Your Stay Today!

Make WaKeeney your home base during your hunting expedition. With seven lodges, hotels, and B & Bs, you’ll find a comfortable place to call your home away from home.

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There are hotels to fit every hunter’s needs in WaKeeney. The Best Western Plus WaKeeney Inn & Suites, Kansas Kountry Inn, Super 8, and EconoLodge are located close to Downtown WaKeeney and the WaKeeney KOA (open until November 15) is a great option for hunters with campers.

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Butterfield Trail Bunkhouse is a rustic guesthouse near Cedar Bluff State Park where hunting opportunities abound. The bunkhouse accommodates up to 4 people and there is a fully stocked kitchen and a cleaning station available to prepare your pheasants for the trip home. Don’t forget to pre-order your home cooked meals when you book your stay.

The Country Barn Loft B & B is located only a few miles north of Cedar Bluff State Park and Reservoir. Their suites offer a kitchenette and homemade breakfasts that are delivered hot to your door. There is also boarding available for your dogs.

The Farm House is a comfortable country home specially designed for hunters. They offer breakfast and evening meals upon request, and on-site sheds are ready for your dogs.

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Restaurants

End your day out at one of WaKeeney’s many delicious restaurants, where you’ll find great steaks, baked goods, burgers, and beer.

 

Casual Dining

Start your day at Hometown Bakery. Get there early to enjoy a freshly made cinnamon roll and fresh brewed coffee while you check your email on their free WiFi. (215 N Main St. /ph. 785-743-6496)

The Brazen Bull offers delicious steaks, burgers, sandwiches and salads and beer in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. They’re open for lunch and dinner and feature mouth-watering specials every day. (717 S 2nd St./ph. 785-743-2653)

Enjoy western ambiance and great food at the Western Kansas Saloon & Grill. This modern day “saloon” is a WaKeeney hot spot that offers steak, pasta, burgers, salads, and sandwiches, along with a fully stocked bar . (121 N Main St./785-743-2050)

Satisfy your spicy cravings at Tropical Mexican Restaurant. They have all your favorite Mexican dishes, plus a full bar that will satisfy that “South of the Border” craving.  (428 S 1st St./ph. 785-743-2219)

Mike’s Place is a fun pub where people can kick back while they enjoy a cold beer and pub grub over a game of pool in Mike’s game room. Their menu is full of regular daily specials that feature local favorites and they always have ice-cold beer on tap and ready for their guests. (111 N 6th St./785-743-2641)

Jake and Chet’s Cafe and the Sundowner Lounge are open all day tofill you up from breakfast to a late-night appetizer over drinks. Rib eyes cooked to order, southern fried catfish, or an all-American burger follow by a slice of pie a la mode is sure to satisfy you after a long day out in the field. (233 S 1st St./ph. 785-743-2211)

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Fast Food

The Dairy Queen offers a classic menu with salads, wraps, sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers. Pair your meal with a shake, malt, or a Blizzard for a cool treat. (521 Barclay Avenue/ph. 785-743-2160)

McDonald’s is everyone’s favorite fast food. In WaKeeney, thedrive thru window makes it a quick stop, or you can get out and stretch your legs inside in their dining room. (745 S 1st St./ph. 785-743-2911)

Planning a long day out? Stop by the WaKeeney’s Subway as you head out of town and pick up a custom-made foot-long sandwich to enjoy later when those hunger pains kick up. (718 S 1st St./ph. 785-743-5248)

Pizza Hut is a local go-to for fast delivery in WaKeeney. Call in your order on your way into town and pick up a fresh-from-the-oven pizza to take back to your hotel. (324 S 1st/ph. 785-743-2383 – Call ahead to find out when their buffet is running!)

 

 

Taking the “Christmas City of the High Plains” Into the Future

The work is already underway to install new LED Color-Changing Lights from Inception Lighting along the buildings of Downtown WaKeeney and soon our famous Christmas Festival will be brighter than ever, thanks to those who have contributed to the “Get Lit” campaign!

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Fundraising Efforts Turn on the Lights in Downtown WaKeeney

Through continued fundraising efforts, several generous donations from local citizens and businesses, sales of our campaign t-shirts and a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, these new LED Color-Changing Lights will be ready to light up the “Christmas City of the High Plains” in just a few short weeks from now! The City of WaKeeney is donating the labor to install the lights as well as the utility costs and Nex-Tech has donated the monthly WiFi fee to operate the lights. They are a welcome addition to the historic decorations featured in our famous holiday display, with color versatility and cost advantages that will go on throughout the year.

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Photo courtesy of Inception Lighting

Beauty and Benefits Added to Our Christmas Lights

The addition of the lights represents a new step in the history of holiday decorating in Downtown WaKeeney. New LED technologies provide benefits unimaginable in the early days of our Christmas Festival when Art Kraus and Jake Heckman hand-built the wreaths, bells, and stars wood cutouts that hang from the garlands strung across Main Street and Russell Avenue.

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Along with beauty and flexibility, these lights are easy to install, operate, and maintain, with lower overall costs for our community. The entire system is guaranteed to last for up to ten years and we’re expecting the overall cost savings will be in the thousands of dollars, with an estimated yearly utility bill of only $300!

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The Season of Giving Has Already Begun

Thank you to all the people, businesses, Nex-Tech, and the City of WaKeeney for donating their time and money to this effort to light up Downtown WaKeeney!

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There is still time to contribute to this community cause. A Go Fund Me  pagehas been set up for online contributions and the “Get Lit” shirts are available for purchase at The Studio 128 (128 Main St.) and Heartland Foods (401 Russell Ave). And, just like our famous Christmas lights, they come in six colors—red, green, yellow, grey, royal blue, and purple. They have the “Christmas City of the High Plains” logo on the front, and the “Get Lit” logo on the back and sell for $12 in S-XL and $15 for 2X.

Join us at the Dedication Ceremony When We Turn on the Lights!

Installation of the LED lights will take several weeks and plans are already set to turn the lights on as soon as they are done. We invite you to join us at the dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, November 24, 2018, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, at our“68th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.” It’s the perfect time to show our gratitude to all the fabulous people who have made this next step in our holiday celebration possible.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway at the Newly Restored Wilcox School

Fifteen years ago, the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway was given the honor of becoming one of Kansas’s twelve scenic and historic routes. It’s brought photographers, historians and casual travelers to the hazy, blue hills that give it their name and, with the recent restoration of Wilcox School, one of the route’s landmarks invites visitors a peek into Trego County’s past through the eyes of its school children.

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The Story of Trego County’s Historic Wilcox School, District #29

The little, one-room prairie schoolhouse was built in 1886 to serve as a center of learning and as a community gathering place for the newly arrived settlers in the area. Native Niobrara limestone rock cut from a quarry on the south side of the Smoky Hill River was used to construct the building and a local stonemason and a team of volunteers pitched in to do the work. The school was named for William Wilcox, the first settler and postmaster of Wilcox township and from 1886 to 1947 between 3-25 students in grades 1-8 shared the classroom each term.

Education in a prairie schoolhouse brought with it many challenges. There was no water source on the property, so pupils brought their water to school in gallon-sized syrup pails. The absence of indoor plumbing also required an outhouse be available for use behind the school.

The building also served as a house of worship from 1890 to the 1940s, with Sunday school and church services led by ministers from WaKeeney and the nearby town of Ransom.

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A Center for Community Activism

During World War II, Wilcox School served as one location for the Cotton Mattress Program. This federal program helped turn a surplus of government owned cotton into low-cost mattresses for rural families. There were over 250 applications submitted in Kansas for this program and two adults and 8 hours of work went into the construction of each mattress. Over 12,000 families in 79 Kansas counties joined this national effort, making 18,000 mattresses and 10,000 comforters.

After the school closed its doors for good the building took on a new life as a gathering spot for a local motorcycle club called the Hi-Plains Gravel Grinders. After the club moved on the schoolhouse fell into disrepair and was left as a hollow structure for several decades.

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Preserving the Past

New attention was brought to Wilcox Schoolhouse when the Kansas Byway Program added the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway to their roster in August 2003. In May 2006, the one-room schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, providing Trego County the opportunity to apply for grants from the Kansas Historical Society’s Heritage Trust Fund to go toward restoration of the property. In 2011, funding was awarded to the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway and the WaKeeney Travel & Tourism committee, the organizations leading the effort, and soon plans were underway to save the limestone building.

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The Work Begins

The stonework and the roof were the first projects to be tackled. Metzker Restoration of Ness City reset the foundation, replacing damaged stones, repairing the brick chimney, and installing a new roof on the school.

Planning for the windows, door, fascia, and soffit restoration began when a second grant was received in 2015, and earlier this year Schamber Historic Preservation, LLC of Damar, Kansas completed those projects. Five panels have been installed within the windows to tell the stories of Wilcox School, as well as offering information about the abundant and colorful wildflowers that fill the prairie in spring, summer, and fall.

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Unveiling Ceremony to Celebrate the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway and Wilcox School

Join us on Sunday, October 21stat 2pm at the Wilcox School, just 15 miles south of WaKeeney on Highway 283 to celebrate the 15thanniversary of the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway and the newly restored, historic Wilcox Schoolhouse.

A short program will be held to dedicate the site and to honor Harm Schneider, whose family generously donated the property to the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway in his memory. We invite you to explore the school and several displays featuring school memorabilia and artifacts from the families who settled the area from the 1880s to 1947. Also of note are items from the Hi-Plains Gravel Grinders Motorcycle Club and information about the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. Refreshments will be served.

Hope to see you there!

Tee Time at Big Creek Golf Course

Grab your clubs and head out to Trego County’s Big Creek Golf Course for the last two tournaments of the 2018 season!

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Big Creek Golf Courseis a 9-hole course featuring 3,213 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 35. The course is part of the Kansas Golf Association with rating is 36.3 and a slope rating of 111, with several elevation changes that make it more challenging than a typical prairie track. The buffalo grass fairways are comprised of rolling hills with and lined with trees that end at watered greens.

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A series of tournaments are scheduled on Sundays throughout the golfing season, providing you with multiple opportunities to join other competitive golfers on the links. The last two tournaments of 2018 are coming up next month, a “1 Man Scramble” on Sunday, October 7th or the “3 Person Scramble” on Sunday, October 21st. Entry fees includes course fees and a meal. (Call 785.769.3160 for more details and to register.)

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The course is also a great practice facility, with a large driving range & a putting green to help get your game on track. Bring your family and get your littlest golfers into the game, too! The putting green and driving range are free to use.

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A day on the links is a day well spent when you tee up at Trego County’s Big Creek Golf Course. Make a plan now to spend time on our links before the season is over!